Works by Kenzie Sitterud
September 7-28, 2018
Opening Reception September 9, 6-9pm
Queer Art Crawl & Collector Night, September 21, 6-9pm
Performance Night, September 27, 7-9pm
In her first solo show, Kenzie Sitterud confronts notions of the gender binary and codified identity norms. Her work is important in today’s context of identity politics and investigates the question of what it means to be unapologetically human. The liminal space is explored in works, such as The Kitchen Table, and speaks to the queer experience of dysphoria and the violence of categorized identity formulation. Kenzie’s work begins to break down the restrictive and suffocating nature of our gendered society and the harm this system causes queer folks, along with other oppressed peoples today.
In the work of The Bedroom, I am critically reconciling the non-binary perspective and the act of embracing the social norms that have been passed down to me via my mother. The Bedroom is a reflection of my personal experience and my indoctrination into the binary system growing up as a queer person. I investigate both the male and female roles in the American context, and how those have affected the formation of my own queer identity, along with what motivates this binary system in society.
I had a conversation with my very conservative mother about the state of our existence. Her conclusion was that had Eve not taken that first bite of the forbidden apple, mankind would still be living in peace. The damnation of mankind caused by a female archetype is a biblical tradition that has been absorbed and has retained power generation after generation. This censured narrative has crippled the fight for equality, and exemplifies the very depth to which narratives are embedded in the shared national psyche.
America inherited both European societal constructs and ideas. One of these constructs was the idea of the grid. Our national design and politics reflect this grid system. And, in addition to these principles, our cities were designed on a grid system, which has translated into the codified system of heteronormativity and the social norms that have contributed to the idea of the “American Dream”. The gender binary is a direct result of this system and upholds the necessity of gendered roles in a society that depends on clearly defined binary systems. In today’s political environment, the gender binary and subsequent norms have now become hyper masculine and have embolden the proverbial white man to act upon the power of privilege and to exploit the binary in an attempt to otherize marginalized people and maintain a sense of control.
The Bedroom is an installation that both represents the binary and the deconstruction of the binary. In our postmodern society, we have begun to evolve into a culture driven by technology and information. In the age of the internet, there is no excuse to be uninformed about gender and sexuality theories and the benefits to an equal and just society. The deconstruction of the gender binary will generate an opportunity to further democracy and liberation for all people, not only the privileged.
The Bedroom draws essentially from the concept of dysphoria that queer folks experience while maneuvering and existing within the confines of the gender binary. The viewer will physically experience a sense of disconnect because of the way the installation is designed. This work has the intention of providing insight to the queer experience and the willingness to confront the society that places this burden on oppressed peoples. My hope is to expose this system, and to challenge the ways in which we become either complacent or inspired to make changes and take action against oppression. And, ultimately, to fight for our human dignity and our shared human rights.